Like Marmite, Tower Defence style games are either loved or hated. The idea is simple – defend your most precious item from waves upon waves of enemies and win. Sounds easy right? Well with Dungeon Defenders, on paper it seems an easy enough premise but in reality strategic planning and team work are the keys to success, after all it’s not called Dungeon Defenders for nothing.
Tasked with protecting Eternia Crystals, there are four types of hero to choose from: Apprentice, Squire, Huntress or Monk. Each has there own specific moves, weapons and difficulty levels. Much like Pokemon, the Apprentice has the easiest start but weapons lack real power, where as the Monk has a tough start but is worth the pay off that he eventually gains.
Dungeon Defenders isn’t just about tower defence, in fact it is much more of an RPG than anything else as there are a wealth of statistics that can be powered up. Just about everything in the game can be either levelled up through fighting off the waves of enemies or by having mana – the local currency, invested into them. Mana is also spent in the game building the tools that will keep dastardly enemies away from the Eternia Crystals. In turn, they can be upgraded and repaired during battles and again, depending on which character is chosen will depend on the types of weapons that can be built.
Whilst on the battlefield, there are two modes, combat and build. Build mode allows players time to navigate the map and plan where to put their defences. Strategy is key as there is a limit to how much can be built in any one stage so wise planning is the key to success and unlike other tower games, the maps gradually get harder and more Eternia Crystals appear. This means that defences are spread thinner and thinner so building a strong character as well as towers is vital as they can move around the map at will attacking enemies.
Movement in combat mode from the defence view is slow so it is always best to rely on the tools that have been created in the build mode. In Combat Mode, the enemies approach from different entry points and move to the Eternia Crystal from the word go. That is, unless a warrior stands in the way. The baddies range from goblins with clubs, to Elf archers and even the odd Orge or two. Like warriors, have different strengths and weaknesses to counteract the defences which have been lovingly created.
While hours upon hours can be spend making sure the chosen warrior is fully powered up to the maximum, if the right blockades aren’t used, all of that work can count for nothing as it will be taken apart in a matter of minutes. For this reason, Dungeon Defenders works better as a multiplayer game. Up to four warriors can team up to defeat the waves of creatures and with the different mix of abilities they each bring, they can ease the stress of the frustrating restarts experienced in the single player campaign.
The single player campaign can be an irritating experience if defences are smashed within seconds however the responsibility for the failures relies solely on the player behind the warrior and not the game’s AI, so no matter what the level of anger is for losing Dungeon Defenders keeps you coming back for more. The developers – Trendy Entertainment have managed to create a game that taps into the human brain and pushes for perfection. It’s like being under the tutorship of Mr. Miyagi – he is there to make you do what you know you can. In the case of Dungeon Defenders that is to beat the game.
To do this, friends are needed to make this an easier experience. Warriors can manage on their own but it will take more time. While wandering around each map, it is hard to ignore the crafted cartoon graphics, which look semi cell shaded. They envelope the nature of the game and give it a moodier feel that perhaps a realistic game would have missed. The sounds of the game are of a loud and brash medieval time again mades the game just work.
Dungeon Defenders has a lot of depth to a game that was released as a PlayStation Network game. From the statistics that can be upgraded through out the game, to weapons, armour and even pet animals. Throw in PlayStation Move features as a nice alternative to the traditional control system, a wealth of trophies and future downloadable content means that this game has a lot going for it. However the speed of the warriors and the sheer time that this game will sap out of you means that your only friends could well be the ones that help you through the game online. It is also essential to play through the game as each type of warrior to earn all of the trophies, but with little differences in the campaign mode this just becomes a dull repeat. Especially the 3rd or 4th time playing through.
Dungeon Defenders is worth the time and effort for the price paid. It is a fantastic change to other defence games out on the market and with so many customisable options, it is a game that will last for an absolute age. Granted there are a few slight niggles with the game but it is easily out weighed by the pro points. Anyone who likes Strategy based or RPG games will definitely enjoy this title. Everyone else should at least give it a go before purchasing.